Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 23, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

8:00 am
04/23/15 04/23/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> they took the young men out. the man wasn't responded. i asked them to call an ambulance. they told me to my my business. i told them, it is my business. and they just threw him up and are. they killed that young man. they make a protest in baltimore are entering their fifth day over the death of freddie gray,
8:01 am
a 27-year-old african-american man who died sunday from spinal injuries, one week after baltimore police arrested him. his family and attorney say his voice box was crushed and his spine was 80% severed at his neck. the department of justice is now investigating his death. we will go to baltimore where we will be joined by the former president of the baltimore city council, eddie conway, a former member of the baltimore black panther's who spent more than four decades in jail, and dominique stevenson, a local activist who was arrested at a protest yesterday. been to yemen. -- then to yemen. >> protecting civilians from a takeover by the houthis and to work on enhancing the flow of humanitarian assistance to yemen and ease the work of international humanitarian
8:02 am
organizations. amy: after saudi arabia declared an end to its military operation, the saudi led coalition continues to bomb yemeni cities as listed civilian -- as the civilian death toll mounts. we will speak with saudi expert toby jones of rutgers university. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. warplanes from the saudi led coalition struck the yemeni cities as aden early today despite a previous claim by the odd it had ended its nearly month-long operation. saudi officials said wednesday it will limit their military role but continue to respond to houthi attacks. human rights watch says they have appellate deliberately
8:03 am
bombed near that contains supplies to facilitate access to clean water for thousands of families. international committee of the red cross has warned the humanitarian situation in yemen is catastrophic. we will have more later in the broadcast. in the european country of malta, 24 and identified migrants who died in the worst migrant boat disaster in the mediterranean have been held in european country have been laid to rest. as many as 850 people drowned after their boat capsized while headed to europe from libya. in britain, protesters climbed into body bags and laid on a beach to protest the migrant deaths. carla mclaren of amnesty international said european leaders need to take stronger action. >> today remembering the people who of lost their lives in the mediterranean and sending a really, really clear message to david cameron and other eu leaders that they need to act
8:04 am
decisively and quickly in response to this crisis, and that means restarting search-and-rescue in the mediterranean. amy: european leaders are gathering in brussels today for an emergency meeting on the migrant crisis. a leaked draft of the summit statement obtained by the guardian shows only 5,000 refugees would be offered the chance to resettle in europe. at least 150,000 others would be deported. in chile, thousands of people have been evacuated from a remote area in the south following the eruption of the calbuco volcano, which has lain dormant for over 40 years. the volcano has erupted twice in the span of hours. the initial eruption caused sent -- sent a spectacular plume of lava and ash shooting miles into the sky. authorities in japan are the -- investigating appearance of a the appearance of a drone containing possible radioactive material on the roof of prime minister shinzo abe's office. radioactive cesium was detected in the area after the drone was found carrying a bottle of liquid bearing the symbol for radioactivity.
8:05 am
the drone's discovery wednesday came the same day a japanese court approved the restart of a nuclear power station as part of prime minister abe's push to return to nuclear power following the fukushima meltdown in 2011. in the united states, senate lawmakers are expected to approve loretta lynch as the first african american woman to serve as attorney general today, after unanimously passing a human trafficking bill which delayed her confirmation. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell had refused to allow a vote on lynch's nomination until the trafficking bill passed. for six weeks, the bill stalled as democrats objected to a provision they say would have expanded the ban on taxpayer funding for abortion known as -- by applying it to non-taxpayer funds. the compromise still blocks abortion funding for victims but does not extend the federal ban. loretta lynch, the u.s. attorney in brooklyn, new york has waited over five months for a confirmation vote, longer than any cabinet nominee in the last three presidential
8:06 am
administrations. she would replace outgoing attorney general eric holder. federal regulators appear poised to derail a planned merger between the nation's two largest cable providers, time warner and comcast. "the wall street journal" reports fcc staff have thrown up a significant roadblock to the deal by recommending a procedural move to place the merger in the hands of an administrative law judge. the cable firms may still have a chance to weigh in before the process moves ahead, but the process is expected to be a lengthy process, and is a sign the fcc opposes the merger. if it was allowed the takeover , would grant comcast a virtual monopoly in 19 of the country's 20 top media markets. a senate bill has allowed president obama authority to rush the trans-pacific partnership trade deal through congress. the tpp is a currently being negotiated between the united states and 11 other pacific rim countries.
8:07 am
the fast-track measure would allow obama to present the agreement to congress for a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments allowed. the committee eventually approved the measure, after a creative maneuver by vermont senator bernie sanders delayed. by applying an esoteric and rarely used scheduling rule, sanders blocked the committee from taking up the measure until at least 4:00 p.m. he said he wanted to give the american people time to understand the tpp. >> not only is there massive opposition to this tpp agreement, but there is a lot of concern the american people have not been involved in the process , that there is not a lot of transparency. so what we're trying to do is to make sure this debate takes place out -- the american people have as much time as possible to understand the very significant implications of this trade agreement. i, and i suspect others, -- amy: house panel is expected to
8:08 am
consider fast-track legislation today. senate republicans have introduced a bill to fast track the extension of the national security agency's bulk surveillance of call records. while bipartisan lawmakers have sought to reform the bulk spying program after it was exposed by edward snowden, the measure introduced late tuesday by senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and intelligence committee chair richard burr would fully reauthorize sections of the patriot act, which let the nsa vacuum up million of americans' phone records every day. that authority expires june 1 unless congress takes action. in baltimore, protests over the death of freddie gray have entered their fifth day. the 27-year-old african-american man died sunday from spinal injuries, one week after baltimore police arrested him. a witness has said police bent gray like a pretzel with amy in the back of his neck. six officers have been suspended in connection with his death. only five have given testimony or made statements. we will go to baltimore for more
8:09 am
after headlines. the family of michael brown, the 18-year-old african american whose fatal shooting by police officer darren wilson ignited the black lives matter movement, are suing the city of ferguson missouri. the family will announce their civil lawsuit today, accusing ferguson of liability for brown's "wrongful death." darren wilson avoided both criminal and civil rights charges for brown's death. in california, the local chapter of the international longshore and warehouse union has vowed to shut down ports on may 1 in a historic protest against police brutality. in a statement, the union said -- "it is fitting that on may day international workers day, bay area ports will be shut down to protest the racist police killing of mainly black and brown people." it's the first time a union has taken such action. in 2008, the same chapter shut down pacific coast ports to demand an end to the wars in iraq and afghanistan. a deputy u.s. marshal is facing
8:10 am
an investigation after he was caught on video smashing the cell phone of a woman who was trying to film police activity. a bystander's video from the incident sunday in south gate, california, shows the marshal grabbing the cell phone out of beatriz paez's hand as she tries to film, then throwing it to the ground and kicking it. paez displayed her smashed phone as she spoke to local abc 7 news. >> through everything on the ground and smashed it with his foot. he stomped on it. he picked it. amy: the clinton family's charities are re-filing at least five annual tax returns after an investigation by reuters found errors in how they reported donations from governments. reuters found for three years in a row beginning in 2010, the clinton foundation reported to the irs that it received zero in funds from foreign and u.s.
8:11 am
governments. but several foreign governments actually continued to donate tens of millions of dollars to the foundation. meanwhile, another report has raised questions about the clinton foundation's connection to a russian takeover of a canadian uranium mining company. according to a "new york times" report based a forthcoming book called, "clinton cash," by peter schweizer, the state department, then led by hillary clinton, gave its approval to a deal which granted the russians control of one-fifth of uranium production capacity in the united states. amid the takeover by the company which became known as uranium , one, the clinton foundation received donations of over $2 million from the firm's chairman. a federal judge has approved a settlement to compensate national football league players who suffer the impacts of repeated head injuries. the nfl estimates nearly 1/3 of its players will suffer long-term cognitive problems like alzheimer's.
8:12 am
after 5,000 players sued the league, the nfl has agreed to pay up to $5 million for players who develop certain crippling neurological diseases. critics say the settlement will exclude people whose conditions are not covered. about 200 players have opted out. in south carolina, a transgender teenager has won the right to wear makeup in her driver's license photo after suing the state's department of motor vehicles. chase culpepper said dmv employees forced her to remove her makeup to "look male" for her initial picture. under the terms of a settlement, the dmv will allow people to be photographed however they typically appear. culpepper called the settlement a major victory for transgender rights. >> i am thrilled to be standing before you announcing the historic settlement with the south carolina dmv. from day one, all that i wanted was to get a drivers license that looked like me. and now that i can finally have
8:13 am
my photo taken with makeup, money lessons will reflect that. i brought this case because what happened to me was wrong. it was hurtful to be singled out for being transgender. amy: louisiana governor bobby jindal has vowed to fight for the passage of a law that critics say would allow discrimination against lgbt people by preventing the state from punishing companies based on their religious views of marriage. in an op-ed in "the new york times," governor jindal, who is expected to seek the republican nomination, condemned indiana and arkansas for caving to protests from businesses over their so-called religious freedom measures. ibm has already opposed louisiana's marriage and conscience act. jindal wrote companies are "free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me." here in new york, an environmentalist marked earth day wednesday by swimming the gowanus canal, one of the most polluted waterways in north america. the environmental protection agency has declared the canal a
8:14 am
superfund site, saying years of runoff, sewer outflows and discharge from industrial plants left it roiling with heavy metals, coal tar wastes and other contaminants. christopher swain spent nearly an hour swimming in the canal wearing a protective suit. he said his goal is to accelerate efforts to clean up the canal. >> this is a no joke i'm a difficult cleanup. -- this is a no joke difficult cleanup. even though it is discouraging and difficult, let's find the courage to do it anyway. i'm also saying, let's define clean up differently. let's not clean it up part of the way, sort of not bad. let's make it sparkle. let's make it a diamond. let's make the standard of clean swift enough -- safe enough to swim in every day. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around
8:15 am
the world. we begin today's show in baltimore where protests over the death of freddie gray have entered their fifth day. the 27-year-old african-american man died sunday from spinal injuries, one week after baltimore police arrested him. his family and attorney say his voice box was crushed and his spine was "80%severed at his neck." a preliminary autopsy report showed he died of a spinal injury. video shot by a bystander shows gray screaming in apparent agony as police drag him to a van. you can hear the bystander's voice. >> look at his legs. look at his legs. that was legs. you are dragging him like that. amy: another witness said the police bent him like a pretzel. gray was then held inside a police van for 30 minutes. police said -- "during transport to western district via wagon transport the
8:16 am
defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to shock trauma via medic." the department of justice is now investigating gray's death for possible civil rights violations. since 2011, baltimore has paid roughly $6.3 million to settle police misconduct claims. baltimore authorities say five of the six officers involved in the arrest of gray have now given statements to the baltimore police. one has not. they remain suspended with pay. baltimore police union attorney michael davey told reporters the officers were right to chase gray after he ran away when a lieutenant "made eye contact" with him. >> they pursued mr. gray. they detained him for an investigative stop. had he not had a knife or in a legal weapon on him, he would have been released. they know what role they played in the arrest of mr. gray. what we don't know and what we're hoping the investigation
8:17 am
will tell us is what happened inside the back of the van. he was placed in the transport van. whether he was seatbelted in. something happened, we just know what it was. asked you think any of the six officers to meet it a crime? >> no. based on the information i know, no. nermeen: well, on wednesday, our next guest spoke with residents of the gilmor homes housing projects in west baltimore where freddie gray was arrested, including one woman who says she witnessed officers loading him into the back of a police van. in a minute, we'll be joined by eddie conway of the real news network. but first, this is a clip of his interview. >> i am eddie conway. >> i seen it. my kitchen faces the street. the paddy wagon was like this. they took the young man out and beat him some more. the man wasn't responding.
8:18 am
they took him by his pants and he was dragged. i asked them to: indolence. they tommy to mind my business. i told them, it is my business. they just threw him up in there. the boy wasn't hollering or nothing. he wasn't hollering or nothing. how can you holler if you aren't saying nothing? they killed that young man. amy: eddie conway of the real news network interviewing residents of the gilmor homes housing project where freddie gray was arrested. he was there last night when protesters calling for justice in his case marched again, and he joins us now from baltimore. eddie conway is an executive producer for the real news network and also a former black panther leader in baltimore, maryland, who was released from prison last year after serving 44 years for a murder he denies committing. we spoke to him last march, just 24 hours after he was released. we are also joined by dominique stevenson, who was arrested at last night's protest in baltimore over the death of freddie gray.
8:19 am
she is program director for the american friends service committee's friend of a friend program, which fosters the peaceful resolution of conflict and promotes reconciliation and healing inside maryland's criminal justice system. she is also co-author of eddie conway's memoir, "marshall law: the life and times of a baltimore black panther." dominique, let's begin with you. can you explain why you were protesting yesterday and how you got arrested? >> i was protesting because there is a history in baltimore of not so much police shootings, but people being beaten to death by the police. there's a long history, i feel, that i needed to be there with the community. we have been doing some time work at the gilmor housing and i wanted to stand in solidarity with the community. i was arrested because at some point, young woman, michaela
8:20 am
price, decided to commit civil disobedience. she is 17 years old. one, i did not want or trust are being in police custody alone. so i came over the barrier to accompany her. nermeen: dominique on the state of maryland also has the highest -- i'm sorry, baltimore has the highest rate of incarceration in the state of maryland. could you connect that to the action you took and to what happened to freddie gray? >> yes, one, if you look at statistics, that particular neighborhood in baltimore has actually the highest incarceration rate in the state. you cannot disconnect that rate of incarceration from the style of aggressive policing that takes place. we have talked to many young men. ok, there is crime in the community. there are no jobs in the community. there is no economic development happening in that community. but the other issue is the harassment of police.
8:21 am
the unnecessary detainment of police. people don't know what freddie gray's history may have been with those folks and why i can't -- i context simply made him run. i think we need to take a look at how policing is done in baltimore. it cannot be disconnected from our high incarceration rate. black folks make up almost 80% of the total population in the maryland risen system, yet we comprise about 28% of the population in the state. amy: eddie conway, you are interviewing people in the area. we just saw you talking to a witness. this issue of there being video of freddie gray in the takedown when they are dragging him over or trying to carry him over to the police van. it looks like he cannot move.
8:22 am
yesterday, the police union spokesperson attorney, said, oh, that is what these perps do. they have to be dragged because they won't walk. can you respond to this based on what you heard from witnesses? >> yes. and i interviewed perhaps 30 people from that community that was in that area that either heard the incident or witnessed the incident. the incident actually occurred under one of the police cameras that has been operating for years and that community, and they have been using that camera to make numerous drug arrests over the years. and for some reason, that day that camera did not work. it would have been directly over freddie gray's head. it would have recorded everything that took place.
8:23 am
one of the things that people say one of the police dropped down on his neck with his knee. and from that point on, he was incapacitated. and later, they even took them back out of the van and shackled his legs and did something else to him and threw him back in the van. so as far as all of the witnesses can tell, and all of them report that he was already fatally injured when they put him in in the first place. that video that we saw with him dragging him to the van, he was on incapacitated. nermeen: eddie conway, has anyone given an exclamation for why that camera did not work that day? >> no one knows why the camera didn't work. everybody in the community says that camera has been used consistently over the years to lock people up.
8:24 am
and used for evidence in drug arrests and other arrests. i guess i want to raise this issue, when is it a crime for a man to run somewhere? people run through out the city all the time. people are constantly running. so you get executed because you run? amy: can you clarify, for people who haven't been following this case, the police union attorney yesterday said in a high crime area, yes, you can arrest someone if they simply run. and no one alleges anything other than that freddie gray ran. what about this? >> well, it is not a high crime area. it is a broken windows police area in which people and residents in that area are arrested for sitting on her own
8:25 am
steps. they are lower during in their own -- loitering in their own community, on their own steps and they are harassed constantly. and this had been the reports that i have received. the real news, myself, and a friend of a friend, we have been going down in that area trying to establish a relationship with the people in that area. and one of the things that they said is that they are not even allowed to sit out in the area on their steps, even though they live there. the police will come and harass them. that level of harassment causes verbal responses. it causes physical contact. it causes people to be arrested. and before you know it, they have an arrest record -- i'm talking, 10, 11, 12, 13-year-old juveniles. they end up in the prison system, and that is why it
8:26 am
becomes a high crime system -- high crime area. amy: a statement from the fraternal order of police lodge 3, baltimore's police union compared the protesters calling for justice in the death of freddie gray to a "lynch mob." during a press conference on wednesday, reporters questioned the union's president gene ryan about the comparison. >> i was reading a statement you handed out to us just now. just reading it, it says the images on tv look and sound much like a lynch mob. what do you -- >> i haven't seen that. >> they have already tried and convicted the officers, and that is unfair. they still get their day in court. they did not give up their constitutional rights when it became a law enforcement officer. that is what it was getting at. some of the protesters and some of the stuff i've been watching on the news, they want them put
8:27 am
in prison. well, they haven't been charged number one. number two, they still get their day in court. how can they request they be put in jail? we haven't even got to that process yet. the investigation has to be completed before we move forward. >> are you concerned with the tone of the statement at all? >> no, because i was quite offended by some of the things that were been set. that comes from me, not my independent law firm. >> this as it comes from the internal order of the police. >> yes. >> are you likening this to a lynch mob specifically? >> let's put it this way. if they're trying, convicted and they want to put them in gel, where is the due process with that? amy: that is gene ryan, the police union president. dominique stevenson, this likening to a lynch mob. yesterday, you didn't get arrested. you went over the barrier. what is your reaction to the police union president? >> actually, if you look at what
8:28 am
happened to freddie gray, he was tried, convicted, and executed. so i resent likening people who are simply protesting in responding to a situation that was extremely unjust in their community to lynch mob. as a person of african descent in understanding the history of lynching in this country, i find that statement offensive. i think people are very frustrated because this is not the first time that this situation has occurred in baltimore. i think people have spent years of seeing the situations occur. people have experienced police brutality on so many levels, whether it is witnessing the mistreatment of loved ones or committed to members or experiencing it firsthand. there were so many people in the community yesterday who are willing to come up and talk about their experiences with the police. this is something that has been so harmful to black communities
8:29 am
across the country but particularly here in baltimore. i think it is basically a statement designed to garner attention and to garner a response. i think people have a right to protest. they should continue to do that. along with that, we need to begin to organize. we need to take control of how policing is done in our community. and that will begin to resolve some of the problem. amy: dominique stevenson, we want to thank you for being with us. edit, wait for just a moment because you will be staying with us. eddie conway with the baltimore-based real news network. we also went to be joined by the former president of the baltimore city council. major protest planned for today in baltimore over the death of freddie gray. he was taken down by police on april 12. he died on april 19. his family and lawyers say 80%
8:30 am
of his -- that 80% of his spine was severed. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
8:31 am
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guest is our eddie conway who continues to be with us, an executive producer for the real news network former political , prisoner. lawrence bell is also with us now, former president of the
8:32 am
baltimore city council. he represents west baltimore, which is the area where freddie gray was arrested. so we are going through the facts as we know them. on april 12, freddie gray was arrested by police. it is not clear why. his family, his attorney says he was arrested for running while black. no one contends anything other than he was running and they arrested him. they then drag can into the police van. the police union attorney says that could be because he was resisting. what witnesses around him are saying is he looked like he could not move. you could not use his legs, and he was yelling. -- he could not use his legs and he was yelling. he was put into this van, at least 30 or 40 minutes before any kind of medical or medics were called. he would be in the hospital for a week. he died on april 19. last sunday. five of the six police who were
8:33 am
involved have given statements. one has refused to. they have all been put on leave with pay. lawrence bell, how typical is this? what are you most concerned about right now as the former president of the baltimore city council? >> first of all i want to say it is good to be here and i appreciate the opportunity to talk about the subject. unfortunately, baltimore has had a long history of these kinds of incidents going on. i think what is changed in baltimore as well as around the country is that we live in an age where there is technology and people have smart phones with cameras. years ago, over 20 years ago, i was one of the people that led the struggle to try to get civilian review, strong civilian review here in a city of baltimore. that is something that has been resisted for many, many years. i think it is because there is been a camaraderie within the
8:34 am
police department, kind of a stop snitching mentality among police. amy: misconduct settlements involving baltimore police officers have cost the city more than $6 million since 2011. one victim, barbara floyd, told the baltimore sun that a detective ground her face into the concrete in 2009. >> i stood by the tree outside the door with my back facing the street. all of a sudden, i feel arms around my neck. so i was struggling, because i didn't know who it was. i was screaming when i could get off of me. leave me alone. why are you doing this? they never answered my questions. all they do is tell you to shut the hell up. >> march 2009, barbara floyd was watching a disturbance outside her home when she said a police officer grabbed her. >> he put a leg in the small of my back.
8:35 am
he was grinding my face to the pavement. he kept telling me to lay down. i was already down. amy: barbara floyd received a settlement for $30,000. so you're the former president of the baltimore city council, lawrence bell. more than 6 million dollars for police misconduct over the last few years. you weren't president during that time, but can you talk about this? >> yeah, i mean, this has been going on for a number of years. what is interesting, the problem in baltimore, i believe, became exacerbated in the early 2000's when martin o'malley began the zero tolerance policy. basically, they had been arresting people for petty nuisance crimes, petty things more arrests, more arrests, and there has been a devaluation of black life. these things have happened. one thing to note is many of the settlements over the several years occurred outside of the public meeting setting at the
8:36 am
board of estimate in baltimore. you did not have a great groundswell to talk about it, because it wasn't really out in the public view as it is today. but this has been one long for a while. i think it speaks to the need to change. we need civilian review and a different attitude within the police department. we need a better attitude and the whole city. as i said earlier, we need to have jobs in these communities. something that has concerned me, not only in baltimore, but around the country, we have heard even among the black leaders the issue of police misconduct, but we haven't talked about the way black lives are minimized when we are economically depressed and more money is going into prisons building prisons, then going into jobs. nermeen: lawrence bell what is your response to the way the mayor has responded to what has happened, both the mayor and the police commissioner in baltimore
8:37 am
are african-american. some have pointed out this means the response has been much better than what it was, for example, in ferguson after what happened with michael brown. >> i think the mayor is sincere. i think there is still a problem with a lot of leaders, even black leadership, being out of touch with the people on the ground. there is an emotion people feel and that has to be recognized. i think the mayor and the commissioner number one, they need to move faster. we know there are certain number of people on the scene in this incident occurred. it should not take rocket science to determine something went wrong. we need answers a lot faster, a lot quicker. the length of time this is taking is what is really inflaming the people in the community. i think the mayor should do a lot more, a lot faster. i think, as i said earlier some
8:38 am
years ago, there was a video in baltimore called "stop snitching." it talked about people in the drug arena snitching on one another. but here's the thing. police, apparently, have a mentality of stop snitching among themselves. not only in baltimore, but around the country. that is what people are upset about. this will idea there is a cover-up and we know these kinds of things have happened for years. if you interview some police officers who are honest, maybe who are retired, they will tell you this goes on all the time. we need a change. we also need to recruit more african-americans on the police force as well. amy: billy murphy, the attorney for the gray family, went on to say police brutality is a pervasive problem in baltimore. >> baltimore has a sorry history of police brutality. even sorrier history in terms of the governmental response to police brutality.
8:39 am
typically, the police deny deny, deny no matter what the facts are. it is not unusual for them to promote a police officer even after he has been found guilty of brutality. we had one case, i handle this where we had a $44 million verdict against the police officer who rammed my client into the brick wall at the back of his holding cell and paralyzed him from the neck down. >> oh, my goodness. >> that police officer was promoted to sergeant after the verdict against him. the city refused to pay and made us appeal at every level. so we had to go to to the court of appeals. we won in all of the appellate courts, and still they would not pay the verdict. it is a sorry situation. amy: billy murphy speaking on cnn. on tuesday, john conyers reintroduced a bill to curb racial profiling and provide relief to profiling victims. senator ben cardin of maryland introduced a companion bill in
8:40 am
the senate. the news conference, brisbane conyers cited the death of freddie gray in baltimore. >> all lives matter. i'm thinking now of sean bell kimberly gray, oscar grant michael brown, jemere rice, eric garner, walter scott, and now, sadly, freddie gray. all of these african-american young men were killed at the hands of local police officers. ultimately, they are tragic examples of the risk of racial profiling and the use of excessive force. amy: that is congressmember john conyers after richard using a bill against racial profiling. lawrence bell, would you call stopping a man while he is running racial profiling?
8:41 am
again, the police union attorney said yesterday in the news conference that if they are running in a high crime area that is cause enough. i was just watching on television, the former police chief of baltimore being interviewed come a and he said, no -- former police chief. he said, no, running is not enough. lawrence bell, your thoughts? >> i think these people need to study the law. it is a concept of probable cause exists. it is absurd to say somebody be simply running after making eye contact with the police officer is probable cause. it makes you wonder where these people are being trained and where they get this mentality. i will tell you something, quite honestly, there is a question of how they perceive black man. the perception of black men in the value of black men is on display right now.
8:42 am
-- and the value of black men is on display right now when we see these incidences go one. that is something we need to do with right away. nermeen: eddie conway, we want your comment on the police union president gene ryan likening the protesters to a lynch mob. could you comment on that? >> as a journalist and reporter, i have to question the language. i mean, a lynching did occur. freddie gray was lynched. there was a lynch mob. there is a body. there was a death without a trial, without a jury, without a sentence. there was an execution. that is lynching. so for anybody to say that people that exercise their first amendment rights to protest, to demand justice, to demand an investigation is a lynch mob, it is 1984. it is doublespeak. they are blaming the victims
8:43 am
blaming people that suffered the lynching for protesting about the lynching, about their behavior. and i think -- i mean, they do not serve and protect the citizens of the community, the people that pay them, when they kill those citizens and then in turn, accuse those citizens of acting out of order and arresting the citizens for protesting the violence that they inflict upon the citizens. that is absurd. amy: there's a big difference in the way north charleston, south carolina dealt with the killing of walter scott and what is happening today. a police officer was arrested. the mayor and the police chief went to see the family of the scots to give their condolences. i understand the baltimore mayor did call the family to visit them and they said it wasn't the time to do that. but on the issue, and i want
8:44 am
this question for lawrence bell, of the six police officers have all been suspended with pay, five have given statements and one has not, there is been very little information released. there is an internal investigation, a justice department investigation, and a few others, apparently. what do you feel, and i will put this question to both of you needs to be done now? apparently, the state will be releasing freddie gray's body soon. >> well, there needs to be some fidelity in terms of the investigation. it has to happen a lot faster. we even have doctors here at johns hopkins university that have said the kind of injury that mr. gray suffered had to occur -- had to be a very strong contact that he had with somebody, it seems to say.
8:45 am
we're not rocket scientist. we don't need to study this forever to come up with conclusions. we need the statements made by the police officers. we need to know everything that happen right away. we need speed. we need to know what has happened, and we need to have some people charged. i tell you, when you have people who are suspended but still are getting paid, that is the kind of thing that really inflames the passion of the people. they feel there is a two-tiered justice system. one for police and a different one for just regular citizens. amy: and finally -- >> i would add, if any other citizen or any other six citizens had been involved in the death of another citizen they would all be in central booking. they would all be up for bail hearings. they would all be, at least
8:46 am
investigated, and that kind of manner. they would not be receiving paid vacation. there is a double standard here in terms of the lives of citizens. amy: i want to thank you for being with us. we will continue to follow this. more than 1000 people are expected in protest today in baltimore. eddie conway, an executive producer for the real news network, and former political prisoner for more than 40 years. lawrence bell, former city baltimore -- baltimore city council president where freddie gray was arrested. when we come back, we will talk about saudi arabia arming yemen. the red cross is calling it a catastrophe. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
8:47 am
amy: "war," by yasiin bey. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
8:48 am
i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: warplanes from the saudi-led coalition struck the yemeni cities of aden and ibb early today despite a claim by riyadh that it had ended the military operation known as decisive storm. saudi arabia and nine arab allies began bombing yemen on march 25. the united states provided intelligence and logistical support for the attacks and accelerated the sale of new weapons to its gulf allies. earlier this week, they do play traditional warships. -- deployed two additional warships. the bombing began after houthi rebels seized control of the capital sana'a last year and deposed president abdu rabbu mansour hadi. on wednesday, the international committee of the red cross said the humanitarian situation in yemen is catastrophic. following a brief visit to yemen, the regional director of the international committee of the red cross, robert mardini told reporters the collateral damage done to the civilian life was absolutely shocking. >> the conflict in yemen is and i meet for a political solution.
8:49 am
we encourage that to happen. but in the meantime, the military and situation is worsening by the day and in certain locations, is really catastrophic. we urge all the parties to take every precautions to protect women, men and children. we call on them once again to facilitate desperately needed impartial humanitarian action. amy: human rights watch has said it appears saudi arabia may have deliberately bombed a humanitarian aid warehouse run by oxfam that contained supplies to facilitate access to clean water for thousands of households in saada. oxfam said it gave the coalition forces the building's exact coordinates to keep it from being targeted. in a new report human rights watch said -- "serious violations of the laws of war committed with criminal intent -- that is, are deliberate or reckless -- are war crimes." on wednesdays, saudi arabia said his country had achieved its mission.
8:50 am
>> we destroyed the air force destroyed their ballistic missiles as far as we know, we destroyed their command and control. we destroyed much, if not most of the heavy equipment, we made it very difficult for them to move from a strategic perspective. we degraded the capabilities substantially, thereby eliminated the threat they pose to the kingdom of saudi arabia and in a process, ensure the safety of our borders, territory, and our citizens. that was the objective of operation decisive storm, in addition to the protection of the legitimate government of yemen. those objectives have been achieved. amy: we're joined now by toby jones an associate professor of , history and director of middle eastern studies at rutgers university. author of, "desert kingdom: how oil and water forged modern saudi arabia." jones was previously the international crisis group's political analyst of the persian gulf. let's start with operation decisive storm.
8:51 am
it sounds like operation desert storm. toby jones, can you talk about was saudi arabia is doing right now in yemen with u.s. support? >> the saudi's are interested in destroying and a grating yemen's military capacity -- degrading yemen's military capacity. they have a series of mixed objectives. one, the state a claim they want to protect their borders in any threat to saudi arabia. houthi thes have never represented a threat and still don't, even though they control much of yemen. the other is to restore the legitimate government president hadi. in reality, his position of power was orchestrated by the gcc after the air uprising. the bottom line is this, yemen has long been the backyard of saudi arabia. it is a deeply impoverished place that the saudi's believe they should assert a political authority, that they should influence outcomes. the fact that been challenged on the southern border is troubling, but it is also
8:52 am
because yemen is fairly easy for them to intervene in. we've seen no resistance in the region. this is something the saudis can carry out with very little punishment work on ability and carry on when they like. on the ground has a contest little. the houthis even operating in aden. it is not clear what they have accomplished. they have declared victory, but that a little more than actually kill almost 1000 yemenis and degrade what was already a troubled infrastructure and the environment. nermeen: the saudis say they have changed and it is called renewal of hope. toby jones, could you respond to the repeated claims by the saudis and others the iranians are supporting the houthis and that is what has forced saudi arabia to intervene in this way? >> there's no quit coronation between iran and the houthis.
8:53 am
there is no evidence that iran is operating on the ground in yemen or it is directing orders to the houthi rebels. the saudis have done a masterful job in the last month and even dating back to last fall when the houthis began their march toward the south, and repackaging what the houthis are of two as part of a regional sectarian problem. the reality is, yemen has been a deeply fractured place for quite a longtime and the houthis have asserted the right to be equal participants in a federal political order. they have been historically marginalized. the saudis ignored this and push through a narrative to just something more nefarious conspiratorial and regional as it worked. we can measure saudi arabia's political and medical intervention in terms of success and failure. have a compost very little on the ground other than to break things. the fact they've helped frame and commits the western media and western policymakers that the houthis are iranian agents
8:54 am
come is a form of success, even though it isn't true. amy: i want to turn to a clip from tuesday. a reporter asked marie harf for evidence. >> said the administration has evidence armenians are supplying weapons and other support to the houthis. what kind of evidence is there? >> this isn't something new. we have long talked about support when it comes from funding, whether it is weapon supply the iranians are sending to the houthis. this is been an ongoing relationship for long time. i'm happy to see there is more evidence to share publicly, but this isn't something we have -- amy: toby jones, can you respond to the state department on this point? also, talk about the role of the u.s. >> i would not get also prized their iranian rebels -- weapons among the houthis. [indiscernible]
8:55 am
it is involved in all kinds of places. there is some widespread cooperation or coordination between iran and what is going on in north yemen. if you want to make a claim that their operating with one country's weapons across the middle east as a son of coordination and which we make of al qaeda and isis using american weapons captured in the battlefield or having been supplied by saudi arabia and others in syria and iraq in yemen? this is a dubious claim that it scares more than it clarifies. -- obscures more than it clarifies. there's lots of geopolitical to removing parts here as well while the americans are chipping away on a nuclear arraignment test arrangement with iran. they are clear the saudis are uncomfortable. they're making concessions, which is easy for the americans to do so, providing small-scale
8:56 am
cover and warships closed by the port of aden and elsewhere. this is simply a matter of the americans making choices. it is about where they can support the saudis and where they can oppose them elsewhere at least, where they can work at odds with them. yemen is and has been for a long time the most equally impoverished place in the middle east. it is also been a political football in the region. the saudis and americans have kicked it around. we talk about catastrophe in the environment and who manager and consequences, and this is not new in yemen. her little has been done to address it. despite all of that, the u.s. is almost pursued does always pursued yemen as a place to target with a call militants. with that in mind, it is easy for them to support the saudis who claim to do the same thing. amy: the significance of the houthis calling for negotiation? >> they have long called for political settlement and
8:57 am
negotiation. we think back to late last summer when they began moving out of the north and into the south when they conversed on sanaa and hadi pushed out of office. the houthis were calling for greater presence, really commendation for various political demands from around the country. the houthis are not dealing with two output pressure on the old central government -- are not the only ones who have put pressure on the old central government. all of suggested political dialogue or national discussion of the post air uprising is necessary, has been a deeply fraud flawed process. they're the ones being attacked even though they're the ones who have been calling for political settlement to it equally broken system all along. the fact the saudis have recast this in a language the houthis are the villains is remarkable. as is the fact the saudis can drop bombs while calling it is
8:58 am
miniature emission. in many ways, it is straight from the american playbook. amy: and the red cross is calling it a human to train catastrophe. >> it is a human at during catastrophe. it was already in a state of catastrophe with hundreds of thousands been internally displaced, this is a place that has rapidly run out of water very little natural resources. the saudis are just making a bad situation worse. amy: toby jones is an associate professor of history and director of middle eastern studies at rutgers university. author of, "desert kingdom: how oil and water forged modern saudi arabia." grievously worked with the international crisis group's political analyst of the persian gulf. that does it for our broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
8:59 am
9:00 am
annenberg media ♪ and: with additional funding from these foundations and individuals: and by: and the annual financial support of:

78 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on